A five-stage reorganizing of radio station antennas on the Mount Royal Antenna has been completed, with the most notable change being that the city’s most powerful FM transmitter CKOI is now broadcasting from Mount Royal instead of the CIBC building downtown.
Cogeco Media president Michel Lorrain told me the process (approved by the CRTC in September) was completed before the holidays, but the stations were at 80% power until everything could be properly tested, and the ramp up to full power happened last week.
(Warning: Lots of technical nerdy antenna talk ahead.)
Quebec’s television industry is about to lose a voice.
On Monday, the CRTC approved the proposed acquisition of Groupe Serdy, owner of French-language specialty channels Évasion (travel) and Zeste (food) by Quebecor’s Groupe TVA for $21 million.
The acquisition was challenged by V, on the grounds that TVA already has too much power in the market, but the CRTC said the increased market share would be minimal, and in any case still lower than the 45% limit above which it would normally deny such applications.
The application to transfer the licences was supported by dozens of interveners, including many producers.
In addition to $1.8 million in tangible benefits, split between the Canada Media Fund, the Quebecor Fund and Telefilm Canada’s Talent Fund, the transaction will also result in an increase in Canadian spending quotas for both channels, as they’re integrated into the TVA group licence. Évasion must spend 40% of its revenues on Canadian content, while Zeste has no quota. As a condition of approval, both must now come up to the TVA group quota of 45%. And 15% of their revenues must be spent on “programs of national interest” (scripted drama and comedy, documentary and award shows) for the TVA group.
A similar transaction, involving Bell attempting to buy Historia and Séries+ from Corus, was blocked by the Competition Bureau.
Robert Arcand in the CNV studio, via one of its webstreaming cameras
Several radio watchers have noticed that they’ve been hearing live voices on CFNV 940 AM the past few days, talking between the songs and giving weather and news updates.
Though the programming is still mostly music, far from the news-talk-debate format that owner TTP Media promised the CRTC when they first applied for a licence in 2011, or even the wellness-talk format that they seemed to move to when they renewed that licence in 2018, there’s at least something. (The hosts they have are veterans of the low-budget radio scene, where wellness programs have flourished, with shows on stations like CJMS 1040, CJLV 1570.)
But the voices are not original to the station. Instead, the shows are being simulcast from Mirabel-based digital radio station CNV (it appears to be a mix of programming from its main feed and its Succès absolus second channel, but there’s also some music that’s coming from neither of those sources).
Hosts being simulcasted include Robert Arcand (weekday mornings) and Diane Lafrance (weekdays at 11am). On their shows and on social media, they’re noting the simulcast.
No word on anything yet from the English sister station CFQR 600. I’ll update this if I hear more.
Okay everybody, back to work. Here’s what you missed over the holidays.
News about news
- The number of journalists in Quebec is going down. (But meanwhile, the number of journalists employed by the New York Times and Washington Post is going up.)
- The Alberta Press Council shut down on Dec. 31. I’d link to the press release, but the website has already been shut down. The group started in 1972.
- Der Spiegel, the German magazine known for having among the most solid fact-checking in the industry, has been humiliated by revelations that one of its journalists, Claas Relotius, apparently invented sources for at least 14 articles he wrote for them. The deception came to the magazine’s attention after a fellow journalist became suspicious of Relotius’s work. This post lays out just how wrong the journalist’s reporting was. It even gets worse, with revelations he was soliciting donations for the fictional people he was writing about. And as the Columbia Journalism Review notes, the magazine is being criticized for being tone deaf in the reporting about its own crisis.
- Former New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson criticizes her former employer for its anti-Trump coverage in her new book, says a story by Fox News. But Abramson tells The Associated Press her words were taken out of context and she has mainly praise for the organization.
- The Google News Initiative has announced $25 million in funding to 87 news organizations in 23 countries on various technological development projects. Canadian recipients are Global News, Postmedia and TVO. The announcement doesn’t break down what each group got, or what their projects are.
- The Journal de Montréal has started a possibly satirical “Centre d’observation du Québec-Bashing“, and has discovered J.J. McCullough, who for some reason keeps getting published in the Washington Post.
- TVA Nouvelles has finally apologized — almost a year later — for a story it ran that accused a mosque of demanding that women be excluded from a nearby construction site. That turned out to be false after an investigation that TVA has not released.
- Montreal Gazette editor Basem Boshra (my boss) apologized after its website posted a story from American Media Inc. (originally from Radar Online) about a “Tinder Horror Date” who stabbed a woman and was tased by police, later dying because of it. A lot of people on Twitter criticized the headline and tweets about the story for portraying the attacker as the victim or being apparently flippant about a Tinder date that left a woman seriously injured. (Boshra offers some subsequent advice for editors apologizing for screwups).
- Toronto Star public editor Kathy English asked Star newsroom employees about what they wished people knew about their jobs. The result is a bit of a rosy picture of how much journalists care about getting facts right and informing the public.
- Star assignment editor Ed Tubb lists the kinds of stories he’d like to see more of in a Twitter thread.
- A major hack of prominent Germans’ personal data — including that of Chancellor Angela Merkel — was posted online, prompting a major scandal. The fact that far-right-wing politicians were excluded from this hack points to a political motive, and caution from journalistic sources on making use of the data (or even trusting it).
Nat Lauzon in The Beat’s studio
In the decade or so I’ve been writing about local media, I’ve met most of the people in local TV and radio, at least in passing. But until December, Nat Lauzon wasn’t one of those people. She has worked weekends since 2011, so that has a lot to do with it. In fact, the only photo I had of her was this one taken of her while she was on the Virgin float at the St. Patrick’s Parade in 2011.
Nat Lauzon in 2011.
Nevertheless, I’ve wanted to write about her for a bit, because of the ironic situation she faces, being a person who deals with audio for a living but is losing her hearing.
It didn’t take long to convince my newspaper that this was a good story, and the result is this article that appears in Thursday’s paper. It focuses almost exclusively on an area in Lauzon’s head that’s smaller than a grape (or, well, two grapes since there’s one on each side), but since I had the chance to sit down with her, we talked about a bunch of other stuff, too.